Development of the Psychologist and Counsellor Self-Efficacy Scale

Helen M.G. Watt (School of Education and Social Work, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia)
John Ehrich (Department of Educational Studies, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia)
Sandra E. Stewart (Faculty of Education, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia)
Tristan Snell (Faculty of Education, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia)
Micaela Bucich (School of Education and Social Work, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia)
Nicky Jacobs (Faculty of Education, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia)
Brett Furlonger (Faculty of Education, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia)
Derek English (Faculty of Education, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia) (School of Education and Social Work, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia)

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning

ISSN: 2042-3896

Publication date: 12 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a professional self-efficacy scale for counsellors and psychologists encompassing identified competencies within professional standards from national and related international frameworks for psychologists and counsellors.

Design/methodology/approach

An initial opportune sample of postgraduate psychology and counselling students (n=199) completed a ten-minute self-report survey. A subsequent independent sample (n=213) was recruited for cross-validation.

Findings

A series of exploratory analyses, consolidated through confirmatory factor analyses and Rasch analysis, identified a well-functioning scale composed of 31 items and five factors (research, ethics, legal matters, assessment and measurement, intervention).

Originality/value

The Psychologist and Counsellor Self-Efficacy Scale (PCES) appears a promising measure, with potential applications for reflective learning and practice, clinical supervision and professional development, and research studies involving psychologists’ and counsellors’ self-perceived competencies. It is unique in being ecologically grounded in national competency frameworks, and extending previous work on self-efficacy for particular competencies to the set of specified attributes outlined in Australian national competency documents. The PCES has potential utility in a variety of applications, including research about training efficacy and clinical supervision, and could be used as one component of a multi-method approach to formative and summative competence assessment for psychologists and counsellors. The scale may be used to assess students’ perceived competencies relative to actual competency growth against national standards, and to identify trainees’ and practitioners’ self-perceived knowledge deficits and target areas for additional training.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The scale was developed as part of a larger project entitled “Who enters our programs and why? A study of career motivations and aspirations.” This research was supported by a Monash University Faculty of Education Small Grant 2015, Chief Investigators (alphabetised): Angelika Anderson, Kate de Bruin, John Ehrich, Brett Furlonger, Nick Gamble, Kate Jacobs, Nicky Jacobs, Leonie Kronborg, Louise McLean, Dennis W. Moore, Zoe A. Morris, Shane Phillipson, Sivanes Phillipson, Andrea Reupert, Paul W. Richardson, John Roodenburg, Penny Round, Umesh Sharma, Tristan Snell, Sandra E. Stewart, Pearl Subban, Janene Swalwell and Helen M. G. Watt. Thanks to colleagues including Joe Coyne, Melissa Davis, David Hamilton and Vicki McKenzie (alphabetised) for their assistance in securing the sample.

Citation

Watt, H., Ehrich, J., Stewart, S., Snell, T., Bucich, M., Jacobs, N., Furlonger, B. and English, D. (2019), "Development of the Psychologist and Counsellor Self-Efficacy Scale", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 485-509. https://doi.org/10.1108/HESWBL-07-2018-0069

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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